Dark chocolate has a number of health benefits, leading certain people I know (me) to think it’s a good way to have a guilt-free sweet treat.
But according to Consumer Lab, even a relatively small serving daily can easily put an ADULT over the safe limit for CADMIUM, a toxic heavy metal that accumulates and hangs around in the body doing mischief for YEARS.
For example, an adult weighing 150 lbs can tolerate total ongoing daily exposure to cadmium of up to 25 mcg, while a child of half that weight can tolerate about 12 mcg. This is TOTAL exposure, which can come from food, beverages, and even the air.
None of the cocoa powders Consumer Lab tested had safe levels of cadmium.
Of the chocolate bars CL tested for cadmium, the worst offenders were Trader Joe’s The Dark Chocolate Lover’s Chocolate Bar and Pascha Organic Dark Chocolate Bar.
Just half a bar of either per day would put an ADULT at or over the safe limit. I shudder to think what that amount would mean to an unborn or nursing baby.
Other brands that were close to the safe limit for daily consumption included: Dove, Equal Exchange, Green & Black’s, Moser Roth, Ghirardelli, Trader Joe’s 72% Cacao, and Chocolove Extra.
The FDA tested numerous chocolates and found that those from Latin America had higher concentrations of cadmium than those from Africa. Unfortunately for serious choca-holics, the beans with the best flavor and color, the ones used to make high end specialty chocolates, come from Latin America.
The BEST dark chocolate bars CL tested (least cadmium AND best taste) are pictured above. They include Endangered Species Chocolate® Natural Dark Chocolate, Hershey’s Special Dark, Lily’s Stevia-Sweetened Dark Chocolate, and Lindt Excellent 90% Cocoa Supreme Dark.
Since cadmium and lead compete for absorption with other metals, you may be able to reduce their absorption by making sure that you’re getting adequate calcium, iron, and zinc in your diet.
Currently, California is the only government that regulates or requires labeling for cadmium (or for lead, which is also toxic).